Bulusan victims urged: ‘Recall lessons in Pinatubo eruption’

Outgoing Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday called on residents of Sorsogon who are affected by the eruption of Mt. Bulusan to recall the lessons learned from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

Gordon, who served as mayor of Olongapo City when Pinatubo erupted in June 1991, pointed out that if his former constituents were able to recover from the ordeal, then the residents of Sorsogon could do the same.

“The destruction caused by Mother Nature during those fateful days in June 1991 was a big blow dealt to our safety and prosperity, but our resiliency never wavered,” said Gordon on Wednesday.

"Ang mga leksyon na itinuro ng Pinatubo ay maaaring magamit natin sa mga nasalanta ng Mt. Bulusan sa Sorsogon (We can learn from the experience from Mt. Pinatubo for those who were affected by Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon),” he stressed.

During the ordeal, Gordon personally spearheaded the rescue effort for 8,000 indigenous peoples in the mountains of Zambales.

The province saw a swathe of destruction due to the volcanic eruption, as it buried Olongapo City under 14 inches of ash, with lahar encasing a large portion of Central Luzon, causing massive destruction of lives and property.

When the volcanic activity subsided, Gordon immediately ordered the reopening of vital institutions such as banks and groceries, and banned price gouging.

As chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, the lawmaker had mobilized the PRC Welfare Team to affected areas in Sorsogon, responding to the immediate needs of affected residents by providing thousands of hot meals, water, psychosocial first aid, and sanitation facilities.

He said he hopes that the government learn the lessons of history in order to positively shape the future.

“With good governance, the people will repay its leaders with trust and confidence, which will turn the cogs of industry towards success,” he said.